When sitting down and racking through my brain over what my first piece with Mic Drop should be, a familiar song began to play, and I knew I had to do my roots justice. Before I branched into the dark world of “emo music” in middle school, my first and all-time favorite band was 5 Seconds of Summer. For those who don’t know, they are a band of four Australian boys that formed a little over ten years ago and have been on an uphill climb since then.
They are famously known for opening for One Direction, you know back in the glory days of 2014, and that is when their fame truly began to skyrocket. (Though the real ones have been here since the blurry Youtube cover days.) Their sound has twisted and turned year after year, displaying just how talented the group really is and puts them apart from the rest of the “boy bands” of their time. So, I decided while reminiscing on their first album, that I would use this opportunity to show just how talented they are and how diverse their music really is.
The start of it all: the self-titled album, ‘5 Seconds of Summer’ released in 2014.
This album was the epitome of “pop-punk” and the home of their first viral single, “She Looks So Perfect”. With inspiration from Green Day, All Time Low, and Blink-182 the album brings you back to the early 2000s, with a modern twist. The heavy electric guitar presence, the catchy melodies, and the lyrics epitomizing teenage romance for a high school “emo” make this album the perfect building ground for the band we know today.
My personal favorite, and the best song to start with on the album, is ‘Voodoo Doll’ which is filled with all the angst of a high school crush and a great highlight of the vocal potential of all the boys. Some other favorites being ‘Social Casualty’ and ‘Long Way Home’, which are great angsty teen anthems as well.
After the release of this album, they spent the majority of 2015 on their first world tour with the opener ‘Hey Violet’. So here is a bonus image of me at 13 years old about to have one of the best nights of my life.
(Come on, the bandana, the iconic flannel, the layered tank tops, this was my peak.)
‘Sounds Good Feels Good’ released in 2015.
I like to say this album was the tipping point of their sound, it showed just how musically, instrumentally, and lyrically talented the four boys were while still holding onto that pop-punk sound. Their single track ‘She’s Kinda Hot’ took hold of their punk side and was the perfect way to introduce their growing sound to the world. This album resembles more of their Green Day influence, signifying the end of their One Direction/boy band era and establishing them as an independent band. With the change of sound came a change of image for the band, constant ripped black jeans, band t-shirts, and leather jackets making an appearance and signifying the end of their teenage years.
Their best songs, personally speaking of course, from the album are ‘Castaway’, ‘Vapor’, and of course ‘Jet Black Heart’. All three are so musically unique and really display their talent at the time.
‘Youngblood’ released in 2018.
After a painfully long 3-year gap between their last album and ‘Youngblood’, this masterpiece was released. This album will forever be my all-time favorite album, even as my music taste has diversified, and new albums have been released. This album was completely different from the ones before with a clear indication of the time they took to grow as people and musicians. The lyrics are painfully beautiful, the instrumentals resemble their older music but with a bit of “spice”, and their vocals are really highlighted within each song. The album was written during a rather dark time for the band, each of them struggling with issues of being in the industry and mental health struggles, and when you listen to the lyrics you can hear that.
My favorites from this album are ‘Valentine’, ‘More’, and the heartbreakingly gorgeous ‘Ghost of You’. If you need a good breakup album, this is it. It holds onto the Pop sound but begins to branch into a more Pop-Rock category. This is also the most amazing concert I have ever been to. I got the chance to see them barricade in House of Blues (Orlando) and nothing will ever compare to the intimacy and raw talent I experienced at that concert.
(This is the concert I took the headliner picture at!)
‘CALM’ released in 2020.
This is their most recent release and the most defining yet, completely altering the image of the band we knew before and allowing them to experiment with a new and unique sound. This album was released just before quarantine began, giving us all the chance to scream into our pillows the non-stop bops and wish we could be experiencing it live. Despite the critiques from many “OG” fans, I feel this is one of their best albums. The lyrics display the amount of growth each member has gone through in their ten years together as a band, the music is somehow so completely different from their albums before with a more “techno” sound but also incredibly similar to even their first album, and their vocals, just wow.
My favorites from this album are ‘Red Desert’, ‘Lover of Mine’, and ‘Wildflower’ (whose music video was recorded separately while in quarantine and was still nominated for an award). This album also led to the drummer, Ashton Irwin’s, solo album ‘Superbloom’ which deserves its own article.
No matter how much my music taste has grown and expanded, 5 Seconds of Summer will forever hold a special place in my heart. There were a few EP’s and singles not mentioned within this article that I think everyone should also take time to listen to. 5SOS is one of those bands that unless you take the time to really listen to their albums, and appreciate their growth, they will never get the recognition they deserve. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t already incredibly successful with world tours, broken records, and countless awards (80 to be exact), I just feel their talent is more often than not, swept under the rug.
Honorable mentions: These are the songs that are either unreleased, on an EP, or just random covers, but all hold special places in my heart. Among the many songs not mentioned in this article, these are my favorites: ‘Killer Queen’ (cover), ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ (unreleased), ‘American Idiot’ (cover), and ‘Try Hard’ (unreleased).